David's Blog

On this page, I'll share my thoughts, and any articles or information I think are of interest.  Feel free to use the comments section to join in the discussion!

Why trademark your nickname? This is why.


So Jockey gets millions worth of free publicity & Bumgarner gets… a free pair of underwear?


Mad Bum, the underwear, is already here

 Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY October 30, 2014


Here's what you get when you're the MVP of the World Series, besides a free Chevy truck: your own pair of underwear.


Sort of.

Jockey has quickly made 2,000 pairs of limited-edition "Mad Bum" underwear to commemorate the third World Series championship won by Madison Bumgarner, the San Francisco Giants pitcher, who tossed one shutout and saved the final win.

"MadBum" is his nickname.

Alas , the unusual underwear — imprinted with the words MAD BUM across the backside — is not for sale. But it will be carefully distributed by Jockey to Giants fans at the city's parade on Friday celebrating the World Series championship.

"We wanted to provide fans with a fun, eye-catching keepsake in support of Madison's postseason greatness," said Dustin Cohn, CMO of Jockey International, in an e-mail.

The Jockey street team already passed out hundreds of pairs to fans Wednesday night at AT&T Park and the city's public viewing of the game at Civic Center. On Friday, it will be passing out thousands more at the San Francisco parade along the official route on Market Street.

But Bumgarner is hardly the first hero to step into a Jockey promo. Jockey, in an offbeat ad campaign that rolled out in August, is taking the celebrities in skivvies concept to the next level by showing off bona fide American heroes in their briefs. Such as Gen. George Patton. And baseball great Babe Ruth. And, yes, even veteran astronaut and moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. 

While Bumgarner hasn't appeared in an actual Jockey ad yet, it's being discussed.

"Madison Bumgarner is one of the all-time postseason greats with a name that's a perfect fit for the Jockey brand. We're proud he wears Jockey and congratulate him on a third championship," said Cohn.

Online, Jockey is promoting a 30% off men's sport underwear sale for those who use this code: MADBUM. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/10/30/jockey-underwear-madison-bumgarner-mad-bum-marketing-san-francisco-giants-world-series/18174689/



“Why are questions so powerful?”


5 Questions That Can Change Your Life

The right question makes all the difference. What's your tennis ball?

Published on July 16, 2014 by by Warren Berger 

What can a question do? If it’s the right question, it can change your life. In my research on the power of inquiry for my book A More Beautiful Question, I learned that asking challenging questions—of others, and particularly, of yourself—can do everything from helping you overcome fears to enabling you to make better decisions and life choices.

Why are questions so powerful?

When we formulate questions, we begin to “organize our thinking around what we don’t know,” according to the Right Question Institute, a nonprofit educational group that studies questioning. Indeed, often just by asking a question, we are taking the first step toward learning something new or solving a problem. Questioning is also associated with divergent thinking, which taps into our creativity. And there’s evidence to suggest that questions are highly motivating: Ask yourself a question and your mind almost can’t help going to work on finding an answer.

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Of course, some questions are better than others. While researching my book, I asked many successful people—innovators, business leaders, great creative thinkers—to share questions they found to be particularly powerful.

Here are 5 of those questions—each designed to help with a different aspect of living a better life. Try asking yourself these questions, but don’t be in a rush to find a quick or easy answer. These aren’t the kinds of queries Google can answer; a more personal “search” may be required.

1. What’s my tennis ball? 

This question is derived from a commencement speech given at MIT last year by Drew Houston, founder of the successful information storage service Dropbox. It's a more interesting way of asking yourself, What do I really care about? or, What am I meant to do? As Houston explained in his speech, “The most successful people are obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them. They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball.” To increase your own chances of happinessand success, Houston said, you must “find your tennis ball—the thing that pulls you.”  

Where should you look for that thing that pulls you? Pay attention to your own behavior and to the things you find yourself doing without thinking. “When you’re in a bookstore,” says author Carol Adrienne, “what section are you drawn to?” Another suggestion is to think about what you loved doing in younger days. “The things we loved as a child are probably still the things we love,” says Eric Maisel, a psychotherapist and author. He suggests drawing up a list of favorite activities and interests fromchildhood to “see what still resonates with you today.” Once you’ve figured out what pulls you, it’s time for another question: How might I find a way to incorporate this interest or activity—this tennis ball—into my everyday life? 

2. What am I grateful for?  

Self-questioning can easily drift toward a focus on what’s missing in one’s life: Why don’t I have more money, a better job, a bigger house?Meanwhile, we tend to take for granted what we actually have going for us. But happiness experts say that if you want to find a quick and easy way to bring more positive energy into your life, start by asking yourself the question above—and keep asking it, every day. 

“Gratitude is a shortcut to happiness,” says the filmmaker Roko Belic, whose 2011 documentary Happy was a study in what makes some people happier than others. The same conclusion was reached by Tal Ben-Shahar, a professor at Harvard University and author of Happier andBeing Happy. He believes it’s important to “cultivate the habit of gratitude” by asking, at the end of each day, What am I grateful for? and writing the answers in a “gratitude journal.” He maintains that people who do this tend to be not only happier but also more successful and more likely to achieve their goals.

3. What would I attempt to do if I knew I could not fail?

This question, quite popular among risk-taking entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley today, can be traced back more than three decades to American pastor Robert Schuller, who used it in inspirational sermons and books. More recently, it was featured in a popular TED talk by technologist Regina Dugan, who hailed the question’s power to help people get pastfear of failure—so that “impossible things suddenly become possible.”

How can a mere question help conquer fear? It has to do with the power of the hypothetical “what if” to enable us temporarily to shift reality and look at the world through a different lens. By asking What if I could not fail?, we create a mental landscape in which the constraint of failure is removed. This frees up the imagination to think of the most ambitious possibilities. Of course, at some point one must return to real-world thinking, where failure is a very real possibility—and ambitions may have to be scaled back. But the point of this question is to allow you to at least start out thinking big and bold. 

4. What if I made one small change?

As you set out to make actual changes in your life, start small. Wall Street executive Caroline Arnold, author of Small Move, Big Change, advises that if you focus on “microresolutions”—small, targeted, behavioral changes—you’re much more likely to succeed in improving your life. 

For example, when Arnold set out to “get in shape,” she focused on one small behavioral change—walking to work instead of taking the train. And she only committed to doing this once a week, on Mondays. Eventually it became a habit, and now she walks to work every day. So why not just resolve to walk to work every day to begin with? By holding yourself to that higher standard, your chances of failure are greatly increased, Arnold says. Bottom line: Resist the urge to try to change too much, too quickly. Begin, instead, by asking, What if I made one small change? 

5. What will make a better story?

Life is about choices: Do I take this path or that one? When you come to forks in the road, ask yourself this wonderful question, shared by author and consultant John HagelWhen I look back in five years, which of these options will make the better story?

Why use this question to guide you? Because, as Hagel explains, “No one ever regrets taking the path that leads to a better story.”



“but I wanted him to know this was what his daddy thought of him.”


‘OMG. You’re So Much More Than Awesome’

A Visit to a Proud Father's Home in Madison Bumgarner Country

OCT. 30, 2014

A Starting Pitcher’s Starting Place

Sports of The Times


HUDSON, N.C. — Just before midnight Wednesday, I walked up a darkened driveway to a brick home along a rural lane. A linebacker-size man with a shaved pate swung opened the door, peered at me and loosed a soft, celebratory howl.


The man, Kevin Bumgarner, trundled backed into his living room, waving at me to follow. He eased into his recliner, where he’d spent the last three hours in the highest of high anxiety, watching as the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals and claimed the World Series title.

He had more than a normal rooting interest. His son, Madison, the best postseason pitcher on the planet, plays for the Giants. And this night Madison had pitched five innings and earned the save.

“I didn’t know if he had enough left tonight,” Kevin said. “But I did know that boy would try to steal a steak off the devil’s plate.”

To Kevin’s left was his baseball shrine, centered on a big photograph of Madison making a fist to himself after getting a big out. On the television, Madison was accepting the World Series Most Valuable Player award.

A day earlier, I’d rolled up unannounced to this house, which lies somewhere to the east of Granite Falls, in the Appalachian foothills. It was just before the start of Game 6, and I began to jabber that I was a reporter too far from home and. ...

Kevin waved me in then as if he was expecting me. (He was not.) “I’m amazed you found us,” he said over his shoulder. “You ever seen so much of nothing?”

In the off-season, Madison lives with his wife, Ali, a few miles away, across Gunpowder Creek on a 140-acre farm in Dudley Shoals. (As a wedding gift, Madison gave Ali a cow.) He grew up in a log cabin that Kevin built with his own hands.

“Here’s the secret to living in a log house: You got to love the color brown,” Kevin said. “But you can hang a picture anywhere.”

The back roads here dip through wooded hollows and rise to offer vistas of the blue Appalachians. This is the area known still as Bumtown, and for a straightforward reason: The mailboxes offer a whole lot of Bumgarners.

There’s a Bumgarner Lane, a Bumgarner Oil and a Bumgarner Septic Tank. Walk into the Granite Falls town office, and a secretary is a Bumgarner.

A cemetery sits across the road from Kevin’s home, chockablock with tombstones. There is Clyde and Lula, Annie Mae and William Pinckney and Etta, Delia and Creed. Some lived for eight decades; others had precious few years before shuffling off this mortal coil.

All shared the surname Bumgarner.

The Bumgarners began arriving from southwest Germany a couple of hundred years ago. Just down the road from Kevin’s house was once a one-room Bumtown Elementary School.

“Not all the Bumgarners are cousins, but most are,” Kevin said. “It’s not like we’re inbred.” He gave a slantwise smile, looking out of the corner of his eye. “It’s not that bad.”

Earlier that day, I had driven by South Caldwell High School. This is where Madison came to flower, his Spartans winning the state championship. Coach Jeff Parham was in right field. He tends the field year-round the way a gardener tends to prized hydrangeas.

Parham has cropped hair, muscular shoulders and the crow lines of a man who spends most afternoons in the sun.

The field, he said, has no cheap hits in it. It’s 341 feet down the line and 358 to center.

Today, Madison Bumgarner is known for a rocking chair motion, a 95-mile-per-hour fastball and a cutter that slides across the strike zone like a greased marble. But in high school, he was also a swatter, one of four batters known as the Bomb Crew.

“See that?” Parham said, pointing beyond the outfield fence. “Madison hit 10 home runs over that pole and those pine trees.”

He broke into a grin as he talked of that team. “Lots of people don’t like to hear this” — he leaned in as if to tell a delicious secret — “but Madison’s team, we had scuffles at practice. Fights! They were very competitive boys.

“And we had the big boy.”

Parham made a throwing motion. “Ssssss” — he made a sound like a 737 taking off — “pop! Ssssss-pop!”

Once, Bumgarner hit 97 m.p.h. in the seventh inning.

“I said: ‘That all you got?' " Parham recalled. “He put on his hat and looks at me and says, ‘No, sir.’ ”

Then he hit 98.

“The fire already was burning in that boy,” Parham said. “All you had to do was throw a little coal on.”

Ask where people go to watch games here, and you get the same answer: their favorite chair in their living room. Several towns around here are dry.

This is Madison Bumgarner country, which is to say San Francisco Giants rooting is required. In 18 interviews in three towns, I could not find a single fan of the Royals.

Which was how I ended up at Kevin’s house. He had his knee wrapped in a black brace; he had twisted it in San Francisco, and it still felt as if he’d been shot.

Watching Game 6 did not make him feel better.

That night, Giants starter Jake Peavy struggled, his low-90s fastball arriving flat as a plywood board. Royals hitters ripped him. Kevin, who has worked as a manager for a warehouse, has umpired baseball games for decades. “Major leaguers’ll hit a .22 bullet if it travels straight,” he said.

Kevin acknowledged he could be tough on Madison. “First thing I mentioned after Sunday was, ‘Don’t forget you were 0 for 4,' " he said.

On Sunday, as it happened, Madison had thrown a four-hit shutout.

Kevin nodded when I mentioned this and said: “I can be hard on him. I’m not proud of it. But he could hit better.”

During the season, Madison lives in a $5,000-a-month condo rental in San Francisco, with a view of the Bay Bridge. The day after the season ends, he hops a flight to Charlotte, N.C., and drives to Dudley Shoals. He has the farm with eight Black Angus cattle. He goes to Pancho Villa’s Mexican restaurant at least once a week. (He gave them an autographed Gigantes jersey that hangs over the door.)

“Last winter we were at dinner there,” Kevin said, “and someone says, ‘Hey, Madison!’ I figured it was autograph time. Then the guy says, ‘I hear you got a new horse!' “

Madison loved that.

Madison can be country taciturn. One day, his father called and asked if he wanted to catch lunch. “Something’s come up,” Madison replied.

“I said: ‘Well, congratulations,' " Kevin said. “I knew what was up.”

Madison and Ali were married that day. It was the two of them, the preacher, the preacher’s wife and a visiting missionary.

Where, I asked Kevin, did Madison get his name?

It turned out Kevin had been stumped. So he leafed through The Charlotte Observer. “I saw a headline saying the sheriff of Madison County was in trouble,” he said. “I said, That’s it; I like that name Madison.”

There was a moan from the kitchen, where Kevin’s wife, Tracy — Madison’s stepmother — was watching the game. Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain had singled for a 4-0 Kansas City lead. Kevin sighed.

“That ain’t good; it’s over,” he said.

He was right. Game 6 was an avalanche; the Giants lost, 10-0. He walked me to the door. “I tell Madison, Sometimes you’re the bug, and sometimes you’re the windshield,” he said. “Sometimes you’re the pigeon, and sometimes you’re the statue.”

He had agreed I could stop by and watch Game 7. A few hours before the game, however, he begged off. “I’m kinda nervous wreck,” he texted.

I showed up after the game. Kevin was near vibrating, having chewed bubble gum with a light beer chaser during the game. We talked baseball, and pickup trucks. (Madison won a Chevrolet pickup as part of his M.V.P. award; his father said he already had so many “I got hopes he might give that one to me.”)

Then Kevin pulled out his phone. He had texted Madison after the eighth inning, and he tried to read it to me. He began to choke up and just handed me the phone.

“OMG. You’re so much more than awesome,” Kevin had written to his son. “To see you work on the mound reminds me of watching you in high school. You are willing yourself to perfection and dragging the team along with you. I couldn’t be more proud of your baseball accomplishments.”

Kevin looked at me. “I knew he wouldn’t read that text before the game was over,” he said, “but I wanted him to know this was what his daddy thought of him.”



“When he’s on the mound, he’s the toughest guy on the field.” 


Bumgarner stars in this October’s script, but can the Royals write the final chapter?

October 27, 2014 by Peter Gammons 1 Comment


SAN FRANCISCO—It all began four weeks ago, a post-season written with an introduction: the Kansas City Royals coming from four runs down against Jon Lester to beat the Oakland Athletics in one play-in game, followed the next night by a Madison Bumgarner complete game shutout in Pittsburgh.

And now, here we are, with either one or two games left. The Royals have run 13 wins in 16 games, their Kelvin Herrera/Wade Davis/Greg Holland troika closing emotional, athletic, defensive dramas so emphatically that they have drawn comparisons to the best bullpens ever seen on an October stage.

The Giants have won 11 games, playing exceptionally well in pursuit of their third ring in five years, riding one great 25 year old pitcher on one of those trips that has evoked the memories of Sandy KoufaxOrel HershiserRandy JohnsonCurt Schilling and even Bob Gibson. While on the one hand the Royals are two wins away because of the totality of their roster, the Giants are one win away because this, indeed, is what an ace can do.

An ace not named Max Scherzer or Lester or Adam Wainwright or Jordan Zimmermann orJames Shields, but Madison Bumgarner. Zimmermann deserves mention, because he is one of two starters who has thrown a pitch in the ninth inning this post-season. Bumgarner, of course, has thrown two complete game shutouts.

This is a man who has four World Series starts and four wins, most ever for a pitcher before his 26th birthday. In those four starts, he has allowed one run and 12 hits in 31 innings.

In this post-season, he has made six starts, compiled a 1.13 ERA in 47 2/3 innings. Only Hershiser in 1988 and Schilling in 2001 had better earned run averages in 40 or more innings. “Will,” says Bruce Bochy. “MadBum has incredible will.”

“He does not take no for an answer,” says Jake Peavy. “When he’s on the mound, he’s the toughest guy on the field.” Yes, privately, they’d had loved to see what would have happened if Yasiel Puig had actually charged the mound. When Bochy hedged Friday about whether he might start Bumgarner in Game Four for a 1-4-7 scenario, one teammate said Bumgarner never doubted he would do it. No issues. No doubt. “He’d start all seven games if they wanted,” said one teammate. “And it’s never about him. It’s always about team.” Then you think that greats like Ted WilliamsCarl Yastrzemski and Don Mattingly never got rings, and this 25 year old Kodiak from North Carolina is close to his third at the age of 25, with a couple of guys named Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson dying to close it all out.

Sunday night was seemingly never an issue. Bloop single with two out in the first inning. Punched out the side in the second. By the sixth inning, it was 2-0 that seemed like it was 8-0 back in Pittsburgh on October 1. Then when the Giants scored three times in the seventh, it was like Tom Brady taking a knee. Ten pitch ninth. Good night.

Obviously, this is not merely Bumgarner’s month. Hunter PencePablo Sandoval and Buster Posey have been enormous contributors, offensively and defensively. The double play combination of Brandon Crawford and Joe (Widespread) Panik are a demo for the Giants instructional film. Gregor Blanco has played a marvelous center field, and Brandon Beltkeeps popping up in key moments.

But Madison Bumgarner has not only helped write this October’s script, he wins the Oscar for best actor. There is calm in the man, there is ferocity, there is will, and the only way anything can be taken away from him is if the Royals get back into The K and three guys named Herrera, Davis and Holland put a choke hold on a couple of sixth inning leads.

For four weeks, that’s what it’s been about, and be they the 1985 Royals or the 1958 Yankees, we have history to prove that we do not know how this ends.



“the best example we have of what's gone wrong in college sports”



College sports obsession poisons a national education: Column

Don Campbell   October 26, 2014

Repair of UNC Chapel Hill's reputation is a long slog away, other schools should take note.

My ancestors landed in North Carolina in the 1750s, some 40 years before the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill admitted it first students in1795.

In 1968 I became the first person in my family to graduate from UNC; my two oldest daughters followed that tradition in the 1990s, a notable achievement given that they were out-of-state applicants to a school that is notoriously stingy with non-resident admissions.

I was proud enough of my degree to hang my diploma on my office wall for many years. I donated money to UNC fairly regularly until three years ago, when early reports of academic shortcuts in the athletic department left a bad taste in my mouth. And, until I took it off Thursday morning, I had worn my UNC class ring constantly for 46 years.

That was my reaction on reading the report of independent investigator Kenneth Wainstein probing the scam in which UNC "student-athletes," were allowed to take "paper classes" – guaranteed high grades, no attendance or meeting with professors necessary – in order to maintain their eligibility to play sports, primarily football and basketball.

But enough with the melodrama. This is not just about me, or even about one institution that lost its way. It's rather a heads-up for students and alumni everywhere who may think their college or university is impervious to the insidious dominance that athletics have come to play on campuses across the country.

I suspect that thousands of other UNC alumni were as nauseated by the Wainstein report as I was, and left with questions.

If you are a younger alumnus, you have to wonder how much your degree has been devalued by the shenanigans going on in the Carolina jock shop. How many potential employers will wonder if you were among the non-athletes who took advantage of the paper classes? Because make no mistake, UNC's academic reputation has been tarnished.

You may not care what happens to the football program, but you probably feel a little superior, even conceited, when you read the annual ratings that place UNC among thetop five public universities in the country.

No matter how great your memories of Chapel Hill, however, you have to wonder how athletic officials and coaches like basketball's sainted Dean Smith could embrace an academic program for athletes that they had to know was a sham. Why did they jeopardize their academic reputation in hopes that they could be competitive in big-time football and the chase for a national basketball championship?

I suspect that the scandal now playing out in Chapel Hill is not as much about the value of one's degree, or one's memories, as it is about money. I doubt many schools could withstand unscathed the kind of scrutiny now focused on UNC, but it's the best example we have of what's gone wrong in college sports.

The Atlantic Coast Conference used to be a tidy conference of eight mostly high-quality universities, known for its basketball, but rarely for its football. That all changed beginning in the 1990s with the addition of colleges known more for their athletics than their scholarship.

And it was all done, first, for the ticket sales, media rights, branding income and donations that make football and basketball by far the top money-making sports in academia and, secondly for the prestige gained through football bowl bids, basketball's March Madness, regional and national television deals.

But none of that is possible without the contribution of the real victims here -- the athletes. They are recruited to what's reputed to be a superb university even though everyone involved in the charade knows they could not meet academic eligibility without extensive support, however questionable.

They may dream of playing professional football, or expect a year or two on the basketball court to launch them into the NBA, but their diploma – if they get one – will be worth less than the paper it's printed on as a measure of their education.

UNC leaders may well rebuild the university's reputation, but it will be a long slog. They should start with an unambiguous pledge to always put academics ahead of athletics – always -- and get rid of every employee on campus who doesn't share that commitment.